Washington DC–White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media that the White House was anxious over “Elevatorgate” and that the President was preparing to broker a peace settlement between the warring factions. “As with any foreign issue, the President is reluctant to get himself involved, but was willing to offer languid assistance. The crisis in the elevator had shaken the President to his core.” Rumors that the First Lady was preparing a hashtag campaign to raise awareness for the situation have yet to be confirmed. “At this time, our sources tell us that Jay-Z, Solange, and Beyonce have worked things out claiming that it was a ‘private family matter’,” Carney said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate our response accordingly.” When asked if another beer summit was involved Carney responded, “We are in contact with Jay-Z’s publicist to find out if he is a Bud, Coors, or Michelob guy.”
Recently, a new ad campaign was launched by Venezualan President Hugo Chavez nicknamed “Ghetto Chavez.” In an attempt to appeal to the youth, various artists have depicted Chavez as a younger, more-in-touch-with-the-youth man. He’s seen rapping, riding a motorcycle, boxing, and even dunking a basketball. Much of this attempt to reinvent the 58-year-old president is because as he seeks another six-year term, he finds himself set against a younger, dynamic rival–Governor Henrique Capriles of Miranda state.
So, I got to wondering. What would our candidates look like if they were to adopt “Ghetto Chavez”? Both candidates have admitted that they are looking to the youth vote, with both President Obama and Mitt Romney making repeated visits to state colleges and universities. And, in light of his “forty-seven percent” statement, Romney may very well need the youth to win this election. So, who would they appeal to specifically? What might they rap? Would they be even remotely credible?
Well, here’s my take:
Musical influence: Jay-Z, Dead Prez, NAS
Audience: President Obama has a built-in audience as he’s already appeared at Jay-Z concerts in video promoting the election and “rocking the vote.” In 2008, Obama carried sixty-six percent of the youth vote. He is looking at dwindling numbers as the 18-year-olds that poured out to vote are now graduating seniors looking at a bleak economy, soaring debt, and unemployment that hovers around eight percent. They accepted the “Hope” and “Change” but are now wondering where it went, and are realizing that politicians say one thing, and do something else. Obama will still get a fair share of the youth vote–after all, it is the youth how seek to change their world while the middle-aged seem set in their ways.
Song to Rap: “Hell Yeah” by Dead Prez and Jay-Z
Every job I ever had I had to get on the first day
I find out how to pimp on the system
Two steps ahead of the manager
Gettin’ over on the regular tax free money out of the register
I’m not the one to kiss ass for the top position
I take mine off the top like a politician
Where I’m from doin’ dirt is a part of living
I got mouths to feed, dawg, I gots to get it
Credibility: President Obama wins this category if only because, like Bill Clinton, Obama has cornered the niche on utilizing the tools that the youth use themselves: Obama has 27 million “likes” on Facebook, over 18 million Twitter followers, can be seen at major concerts opening up the festivities with a “rock the vote” message, and even in video games. Right now, Obama’s message to college kids is one of the cost of college. However, Gen-Y wants more. Obama is going to have to rock hard with the college kids and his soft rock message of student loans is going to get lost in the white noise of the election.
Musical influence: Eminem, Vanilla-Ice, Snow
Audience: Other than the modern, college Republican kid who grew up with Rap music, Romney’s audience isn’t quite up on the “ghetto” mystique. It is rather unusual to go to a Tea Party fundraiser and find Eminem playing in the background. However, Romney does have that new youth group to tap; in 2008, 62 percent of college kids identified themselves as Democrat with 30 percent Republican. In 2010, that number had changed: 54 percent Democrat and 40 percent Republican. Rap music has become more mainstream as R&B supplants “classic rock” on the airwaves. Cee-Lo Green judges on Fox’s “The Voice.” Beyonce and Alicia Keys are household names among America’s youth, and Beyonce is married to Jay-Z, one of Obama’s favorite musicians on his iPod.
Song to Rap: “White America” by Eminem
See the problem is I speak to suburban kids
Who otherwise woulda never knew these words exist
These moms probly woulda never gave two squirts of piss
Till I created so much mothafuckin’ turbulence
Straight out the tube right into ya livin’ rooms I came
And kids flipped when they knew I was produced by Dre
Thats all it took and they were instantly hooked right in
Credibility: Romney’s… well, let’s just say that with the Barry Manilow crowd, Mitt’s got the ballroom abuzz. The Republican handlers helped Romney’s “street-cred” with the selection of the hip, 42-year-old Paul Ryan, an avid Zeppelin listener and p90x trainer. He’s someone the youth can connect to. What Ryan brings to the Republican party is a person who has proposed solutions to problems while in Congress–rather than complain or blame–and though many college students may feel his policies are not in line with theirs, he is still someone who has presented a plan and stuck to it. For the seniors who voted for President Obama and his “change” four years ago, they now look to someone who has proposed change and fought for it.
While that might make for an interesting joke, in reality, those are three prominent people who have thrown their names into this political season by openly supporting either President Obama or Mitt Romney.
While I do believe that more people would be interested in politics or economics if said politicians met in cheap road-side motels with drugs and prostitutes present, it is interesting to see how the candidates court Hollywood and the music industry.
The list for both candidates are rather varied, and the Democrats have the distinct advantage courting Hollywood. The obvious reason Obama or Romney would elect to have the support of these folks is money. Hollywood is a cesspool of cash. The titans of the industry give maximum amounts to various PACs and party groups. The B-listers give what they can.
But there’s got to be another reason.
Why would the DNC be giving Eva Longoria time at the podium at their upcoming convention? Why let Clint Eastwood go “off script” and talk to an empty chair? It is called using the network.
Why else would Romney not publicly say, “no thank you” to super-porn star Jenna Jameson when she said this of the possibility of a Romney win?
“I’m very looking forward to a Republican being back in office,” Jameson said while sipping champagne in a VIP room at Gold Club in the city’s South of Market neighborhood. “When you’re rich, you want a Republican in office.”
Okay, it doesn’t look good for a devout Mormon to have a ringing endorsement from the Queen whore of Babylon, but, her 479,810 twitter fans might also vote. And judging from recent tweets, she has a mixed tweeting of upcoming “shows” and political talk. Oddly, there seems to be more political talk. You can read for yourself here. Granted, Ms. Jameson’s choice of profession is a slap in the face of most feminists, and might just send more women into the Sandra Fluke camp. Still, you have to admit, there’s a great many in Hollywood, on both sides of the aisle, that probably feel the way that Jenna Jameson does.
Mitt Romney isn’t the only one with an interesting support group out of the media/Hollywood set. President Obama made a video cameo at a recent Jay-Z concert. This is the same Jay-Z with lyrics that might make Jenna blush (okay, I doubt it after looking up some of her “film” credits…. Convention Cuties made me chuckle). Obama has said that he has Jay-Z’s music on his iPod. I wonder if he listens to this (from “Money, Cash, Hoes” on Vol 2… Hard Knock Life):
Money cash hoes money cash chicks what
Sex murder and mayhem romance for the street
Only wife of mines is a life of crime
And since, life’s a bitch in mini-skirts and big chests
How can I not flirt with death
That’s life’s a nigga, long as life prevent us
We gonna send a lot and pray to Christ forgive us
Here’s a link to Obama’s video cameo at the Jay-Z concert courtesy of YouTube. Just a note–Jay-Z’s official Twitter page boasts 857,600+ followers that could receive a tweet on election day reminding them to go vote.
Okay, neither candidate has made strong moves here, but there are other media power brokers that back both candidates.
In the battle over Hollywood the DNC has the clear advantage. The pro-Obama camp includes such notables as: Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Oprah, The Jonas Brothers (youth market), Tina Fey, and Anne Hathaway. The Republicans? Ted Nuggent, Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammer, Gene Simmons, and Clint Eastwood. Nice names but not quite the same drawing power via social media.
Ultimately, it comes down the visibility of these people and the reach they have into the homes of America via their television channels (Oprah), their movies (Spielberg/Hanks/Eastwood), music, and, most of all, their access to their fans via Twitter and other social media. We’ll see what happens as we get closer to November, but I would expect to see an upswing in commercials showing A-listers propping up their candidates. Maybe another chair chat from Eastwood? We’ll have to wait to see what Eva Longoria has planned for Charlotte, but count on it being replayed ad nauseam until November 5th. It’s not like this has been a political season of the issues anyway.